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“This Is A Town That Wants Thoughts and Prayers”: Why the Santa Fe Shooting Isn’t Working for the Anti-Gun Left

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The news media would have you believe that the Parkland shooting was an organic reaction to a nation crippled with far too many school shootings.

Young David Hogg, Cameron Kaskey, and Emma Gonzalez were just innocent kids who want to go to school without the threat of gun violence, but the big, bad NRA is so determined to keep making money (despite being a not-for-profit organization) they’ll just keep forking out millions to Congress to pass laws that empower school shooters.

Or something.

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In reality, Broward County, Florida, where Parkland is located, was already a deep-blue county long before the shooting, and these kids were already far-left ideologically, as is much of the community in which they grew up, so becoming enraged, anti-gun protesters was a natural conclusion for them following the horrific tragedy that they couldn’t otherwise explain than to blame the guns. 

In Texas, the tragic Santa Fe High School shooting is drawing a stark contrast to Parkland, because, as Matt Post of the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence told BuzzFeed, “This is a town that wants thoughts and prayers.”

“I don’t think guns are the problem — I think people are the problem,” said another student to NBC News. “Even if we did more gun laws, people who are sick enough to do something like this are still going to figure out a way to do it. So it doesn’t matter.”

Many more residents and public officials are also putting the blame not on the NRA or Texas’ firearm culture but on mental health, a culture of violence and death, and decreased mortality. They recognize that the weapons themselves aren’t to blame, but the angry young man who carried out the shooting and the various factors that might have driven him to commit such an act.

“We have created a culture that does not value life, that does not honor God, that does not respect authority. We are reaping the consequences of those actions, and that’s not going to be reversed by a security guard or a metal detector,” Rev. Brad Drake told the LA Times.

Matt Vespa of Town Hall notes that, of course, in Parkland, the guns weren’t to blame either.

“The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was part of an Obama-era disciplinary reform program that some are saying allowed him to slide through the cracks, despite serial write-ups on his behavior. He should have been committed in 2016 for cutting himself after breaking up with his girlfriend via the Baker Act. This would have shown up on a background check, preventing him from buying the AR-15 in February of 2017, which he used in the attack this year,” he explains.

“The FBI should have followed up on the two tips about him,” he continues. “The local police, who were called to his home over 40 times, in some cases, where Cruz was reported to have pointed guns at people’s heads, should have been able to do something to ensure public safety. The police, FBI, school, and local officials all failed here. It was a total failure. It wasn’t the NRA. It wasn’t the current gun laws. The current gun laws would have been able to prevent him from buying and owning guns if the officials had just acted upon the existing laws.”

“And don’t even get me started on the Broward County Sheriff’s Department,” he adds.

In Santa Fe, as well, the gunman was 17, meaning every step of the way he was breaking a law that’s already on the books. Santa Fe residents know this, and they know that a community in mourning deserves its time, and does not need to become a staging area for the next agenda-driven media hoopla.

“Out of Parkland there was a lot of rage immediately. I don’t feel that kind of rage here,” Post observed about Santa Fe. “It’s such a nice community that no one wants to be an adversary.”

Vespa notes that the left has a short memory, but the pro-2A right won’t soon forget this contrast. It’s sad, really, because maybe if more communities could behave in this way, we might actually be able to have more productive national conversations about how to end gun violence.

But that will never happen with a media deadset on sensationalizing and politicizing every opportune shooting.

 

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Faith

God’s Incredible Truth About Special Needs Adoption

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Making room in your home, and in your heart, for a child who is not biologically yours is an amazing reflection of God’s grace and adoption of sinners, but it is not without its hardships and struggles.

Adopting a child with special needs can increase the tension in an already difficult process, and so many of these precious children end up without families because of what their care would entail.

When God adopted us into His kingdom, however, he didn’t hesitate for our flaws and imperfections, and the adoptive family who mirrors this finds such an immense reward.

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In a heartwarming piece for Relevant Magazine, author Scarlet Hiltibidal shares her amazing experience with adopting a little girl from China with special needs and the lessons God taught her through it all.

Ya Zhu was almost four, but she couldn’t walk and wasn’t potty trained. There were concerns about her cognitive development.

Many doctors and specialists said we ought to proceed with ‘great hesitation.’ One told us not to move forward at all. They all agreed there must be something else very wrong with Ya Zhu because her delays were so significant.

But my husband and I managed to stay mostly peaceful. We didn’t know if Ya Zhu would heal and recover. We didn’t know how hard things would be. We didn’t know if she’d be a joyful child, but we decided to rename her ‘Joy.’ We hoped and prayed adopting her would give her hope and a future.

While embarking on the journey of adoption and knowing full well you are in for a challenge can surely cause a healthy degree of apprehension, Hiltibidal says she and her husband, by God’s grace, were able to proceed without an ounce of fear in their hearts.

God was leading us to Joy, and He was with us. He had come through in so many ways: checks from strangers to cover adoption fees at exactly the right time, comforting words from the Bible, people who moved our anxious hearts toward rest, doors opening and closing and freelance jobs falling out of the sky exactly as our adoption agency was asking for another payment. God was with us. He kept proving He was in the process and supporting it and leading it. We weren’t afraid.

In a moment of raw, authentic honesty, Hiltibidal reveals that it wasn’t until she actually met her new daughter that fear crept in.

We were convinced Joy would never walk, never learn, never leave diapers. I wondered if our family would ever laugh again. If we’d ever have an easy Saturday at the park. I wondered how much wheelchairs cost and what my other children would miss out on because of this decision we’d made.

But right there, in the middle of the scariest moment of the entire process, God reached down and touched Hiltibidal’s heart to remind her of one of His deepest truths.

He reminded me that I was, and so often still am, a child with special needs who doesn’t know how to rest in the love of her adoptive Parent. He reminded me that I am the little girl with broken ears and broken eyes and my hands clenched around everything I can grab, and yet He walked into this broken world so He could adopt me into His family.

Hiltibidal draws us back to Romans 8:15, which says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Emboldened to follow the clear path God had set before her, no matter the challenges, Hiltibidal began to see His faithfulness and power in their new lives with Joy.

Joy is five now. She’s more than doubled in size since her adoption, is fluent in sign language and actually advanced in communication according to an evaluation from her school. With a hearing aid, she can hear and understand English, and after a year of physical therapy, her therapist suggested we discontinue her services because Joy no longer needs the extra help.

Life with Joy has become such an amazing blessing for her family. Not only does she enrich their lives with all the love, hugs, and learning experiences a child comes with, her special needs point the Hiltibidals to the Gospel on a daily basis.

In my life, God has used the world of special needs to make me stop depending on my life plans and my strength. Instead, He’s offered me His plan and His strength. When Joy’s special needs caused her to depend on me, I had no choice but to take my weakness to God.

I’m not strong. I’m not powerful. I’m not ‘normal.’ I’m as dependent as my special needs daughter. We are all dependent on the power of God for our next breath. Resting in that reality is what can give you and me the ability to look around and reach out and meet the needs of others, the way God reached down from Heaven to meet ours.

God has this wonderful way of structuring our lives such that we endure challenges designed specifically to draw us closer to Him and to teach us to be like Him. When those challenges involve our children, what a wonderful insight we gain into the heart of our Father in Heaven.

 

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Faith

All It Took Was $6, A Thunderstorm, And A “God Thing” To Launch This Country Star’s Career

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Did you know that every single detail in your life is a thread in an intricate tapestry woven together by the Master? Where you’re born, the friends you’ll make, who you’ll marry, the jobs you land, the ministries you serve, that’s all God’s beautiful orchestration.  

He has a perfect will, and try as we might, we’re his creatures and we can’t rush Him or outrun Him. It’s not our time to shine until God says so.

That’s the incredible lesson fledgling country star Russell Dickerson had to learn the hard way.

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Dickerson, a Belmont University grad, had tried to make waves in the country music scene for years. He’d landed a record deal way back in 2010, but it had “definitely been a slow journey,” he shared with Fox News, describing the trials he went through trying to “get big” before it was truly his time.

“We had no money, no budget, no nothing and we had been turned down, turned down, turned down,” the singer recalled.

“The biggest first step was our music video [that] my wife shot,” Dickerson said, retelling the frustrated moments that led up to his big break.

Dickerson and his wife, Kailey, finally had enough and decided to try their hand at recording a music video: “We’re like, alright, we’re going to do this on our own.”

“So we shot this music video for ‘Yours’ and if you watch it on YouTube,” the singer explains, “it’s just me walking down a road and my wife is in my SUV just shooting out of the back and it just starts raining and there’s lightning everywhere.”

What might of seemed like the end result of years of failure and frustration to the Dickersons was really just God’s perfect timing, all the way down to the thunderstorm that gave the video such an exciting vibe.

“It was this God moment, totally,” he said.

God wasn’t done with the Dickersons yet, though. Not long after the video, which cost just six dollars to film (possibly the gas for the SUV?), an industry exec reached out to Dickerson and the following events just “snowballed into this perfect storm” that finally gave his career wings.

Ultimately, Dickerson says, if God gave him this dream, God was going to be the one to make it a reality.

“I feel like God’s given me this dream of being on stage and writing a song, even of getting a tour bus…All of these dreams he put into my mind and into my heart are finally coming to fruition.”

The good, the bad, the frustrating, the hopeless, the glorious, every part of our lives is in God’s hands, and we don’t believe in a God who can fail. The next time you find yourself, like Dickerson, struggling against the waves, stop, turn to God, and watch His perfect timing unfold.

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